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Romania is divided into forty-one counties (judete), as well as the municipality of Bucharest (Bucuresti), which is its own administrative unit. Each county is administered by a county council (consiliu judetean), responsible for local affairs, as well as a prefect, who is appointed by the central government but cannot be a member of any political party. In alphabetical order, the counties are:

Arges
Ilfov
Timis
Tulcea
Vaslui
Vâlcea
Vrancea
 
Caras-Severin

Alongside the county structure, Romania is also divided into eight development regions, which correspond to NUTS-II divisions in the European Union, but which have no administrative capacity and are instead used for co-ordinating regional development projects and statistical purposes. The country is further subdivided into 2686 communes, which are rural localities, and 265 towns. Communes and towns have their own local councils and are headed by a mayor (primar). Larger and more urbanised towns gain the status of municipality, which gives them greater administrative power over local affairs.

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Ilfov County

Ilfov is the county that surrounds Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It used to be largely rural, but after the fall of communism, many of the county's villages and communes developed into high-income commuter towns, which act like suburbs or satellites of Bucharest. The gentrification of the county is continuing, with many towns in Ilfov, such as Otopeni, having higher some of the highest GDP per capita levels in the country.

Demographics

It has a population (excluding Bucharest) of 300,123. The population density is 188 per km². 40% of the population commutes and works in Bucharest, although in recent years, many industrial plants were built outside Bucharest, in Ilfov county. It has an annual growth of about 4%.

Romanians - 96.05%
Romas 3.66%, and other

Year County population
1948 167,533
1956 196,265
1966 229,773
1977 287,738
1992 286,965
2002 300,123

Geography

The county has an area of 1,583 km² and it is situated in the Romanian Plain between the Arges River and the Ialomita River.

The main rivers that pass through the county are: Dâmbovita River, Colentina River and Gruiu River. Several lakes can be found in Ilfov county, notably Cernica, Snagov Lake and Caldarusani Lake.

Neighbours

  • Ialomita County and Calarasi County county in the East.
  • Dâmbovita County in the West.
  • Prahova County in the North.
  • Giurgiu County in the South and East.

Economy

The base occupation used to be the agriculture. Nowadays, due to the economical growth in Bucharest, many companies have opened their offices, production facilities or warehouses in the nearby villages, situated in the Ilfov County, thus making it the most developed county in Romania.

The predominant industries in the county are:

  • Food and beverages industry
  • Textile industry
  • Mechanical components industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Paper industry
  • Furniture industry
  • Rubber industry
  • Electrical equipments industry
  • Transport equipment industry
  • Electronic and optical equipment

At Otopeni there is the main aerial transport hub in Romania - the Henri Coanda International Airport. Also all the main roads and railways leaving Bucharest pass through the county.


Tourism

The county has a large surface covered with forests and also due to its lakes, it is a frequent week-end and holiday destinations for the inhabitants of Bucharest.

Other notable touristic sites are:

  • The Snagov Monastery
  • The Cernica Monastery
  • The Mogosoaia Palace
  • The Caldarusani Monastery
  • The Ghica family palace in Moara Vlasiei
  • The Stirbei Palace in Buftea

History

Most of today's Ilfov County used to be covered by Codrii Vlasiei, a thick forest, but there were several Dacian settlements, most important being Argedava, on the right bank of the Arges River in what is now Popesti, which was the capital of king Burebista.

The thick forests were useful for retreat during the migration age because they were not easy to cross on horseback. In fact, the name of the forest means "the Forests of the Vlachs" (Romanians), a name given by the Slavs who inhabited the nearby plains.

The county was named after the Ilfov river and it is of Slavic origin, being composed from "Ilf" (a name?) and suffix "-ov" and it appears for the first time in a 1482 donation act of voivode Vlad Calugarul to the monastery of Snagov.

Administrative divisions

The county has 8 towns and 31 communes.

There are serious debates about the city level awarded to Voluntari, as it is alleged that it was given in regard to the city's political affiliation, rather than population, development or any other objective features. Despite this, Voluntari does have a population of 15,000, and many other localities with this population have been given city-status in the past.

Before 1972, it used to be one of the largest counties of Romania, but parts of it were added to neighbouring counties and nowadays it is the smallest (excluding the city of Bucharest, which has a special status). Between 1981 and 1997, it was called "Sectorul Agricol Ilfov" and it was not a separate county, but subordinate to the capital.

Ilfov communes

  • Peris
  • Ciolpani
  • Gruiu
  • Nuci
  • Snagov
  • Gradistea
  • Moara Vlasiei
  • Balotesti
  • Corbeanca
  • Dascalu
  • Petrachioaia
  • Otopeni (town status)
  • Tunari
  • Stefanestii de Jos
  • Afumati
  • Voluntari (town status)
  • Ganeasa
  • Mogosoaia
  • Buftea (town status)
  • Chitila (town status)
  • Dragomiresti Vale
  • Chiajna
  • Dobroiesti
  • Pantelimon (town status)
  • Branesti
  • Ciorogârla
  • Domnesti
  • Clinceni
  • Bragadiru (town status)
  • Popesti-Leordeni (town status)
  • Glina
  • Cernica
  • Cornetu
  • Magurele (town status)
  • Jilava
  • Berceni
  • Darasti
  • 1 Decembrie
  • Vidra


There is no capital of the Ilfov county. Most of the county's institutions are located in Bucharest, some being located in Otopeni, others in Buftea. There is a struggle for both towns to be named county capital, one boasting its development and resources (Otopeni has the biggest income per capita in Romania and the biggest airport in the country), the other population and surface. This rivalry is fairly recent, since Ilfov used to be mainly rural and relatively poor in the past decades, and therefore Bucharest was seen as its main administrative centre. Nowadays, with a unique political identity being given to Ilfov, an identity that is separate to Bucharest, it is likely that a fixed capital city will be determined for Ilfov. Buftea is the most likely candidate because it is further from Bucharest and less associated with the city, whereas Otopeni is commonly seen as a suburb of Bucharest, and it would therefore be problematic to have the capital so close to the national capital, Bucharest.

However, in 2005, there were proposed some plans of merging Bucharest with other 90 communes located to up to 40 km outside the city, in the Ilfov county and other nearby counties into a "metropolitan area" of Bucharest.